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Pontiac Fiero: Future Classic Or A Collectible

Introduced in the 1984 model year, the Fiero got
off to a great start. However, spotty quality,
high insurance rates, and a weak demand for two
seaters prompted GM to drop the line, just as
design and quality improvements made the car
better. No, it was never a great design, but it
was arguably smartly styled, fun, and interesting.

You can buy Fieros cheaply today. Is that likely
to change in, say, 10 years, when it's likely that
the vast majority of the almost 500,000 produced
will have been scrapped?
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Comments

  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    From what I hear, the Fiero was one of the first to go with the new "aero" look. It was a big hit at the time, (the styling, not neccesarily the car itself), although today it looks dated and overly conservative. I think it will end up being yet another anonymous sportscar attempt from the eighties. (Unless, of course, you convince Paramount to feature it in the next Back to the Future movie:-)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,780
    Hi rea98d,

    You're probably right, this car isn't going to set the collector car world on fire, mostly due to the fact that it was, at least originally, an anemic, heavy underperformer that looked like a sports car but couldn't deliver the goods. Also it didn't help that it was a clunker for reliability. So in some ways very much like the Delorean....the car that couldn't.

    But, in its last version, with a 5-speed and a V-6, the Fiero suddenly becomes a bit more interesting, with decent performance and some improvement in reliability. So I would hazard a guess that the last 5-speed V-6s, and ONLY those, will have a "minor collectibility" status in the future, much like the Toyota MR2 from the 80s enjoys now....not high priced, but a bargain for the collector.

    But ultimately, no, the car will never have much value, I think, because of its reputation. It is essential for a future collectible to be admired when it is introduced, as this "fuels" future demand. along with rarity, beauty and all the rest.

    MODERATOR

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,677
    Although you always try to temper your responses and pull your punches, you have to admit it.

    The Fiero was a POS car, pure and simple!
  • What's POS, point of sale?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,780
    Let's say it was an "underdeveloped car"...but if you ridicule Detroit for trying to do something different, they won't try again, or they'll go retro and give us Vipers and Prowlers.

    MODERATOR

  • A agree with you, Shiftright, and I applaud GM and Pontiac on the Fiero. While it was, as you said, underdeveloped, in my opinion it had beautiful styling (I happen to like the first one, the '84, the most), and a high fun factor. My brother is the original owner of a'84 Fiero, and perhaps because he's maintained it well and driven it carefully, it's been a reliable second car.

    I can understand how my question about the meaning of the POS could have come across as cynical, but I didn't intend it that way. I truly don't recognize the accronym POS. If you tell me I'll probably smack my forehead and say, "Oh, of course; I knew that!"
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,780
    WEll, we don't allow profanity in any form at Town Hall, so let's just leave it at that, okay?
    Your brother sounds incredibly lucky! (not to own one, but to own one that didn't self-destruct itself or him).

    MODERATOR

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,677
    Did a song about a car like that...

    The sad thing was about the time Pontiac started to get the Fiero halfway right with the V-6 and all, they stopped production.

    The early 4 cyls just were NOT a good car. I guess underdeveloped is the most accurate term.

    But, Shifty, you are right. At least they tried!

    Who was it that said...

    " It is better to attempt something great, and fail, then it is to attempt nothing and succeed!"
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,780
    At least a failure implies that one tried to exceed oneself. GM doesn't always shoot itself in the foot...look at the C5 Corvette--helluva car.

    MODERATOR

  • I just looked at an 86.5 Fiero GT fastback the other day while helping my son find a car for personal use. This car has been totally madeover, including significant engine work on the 2.8 V6 bringing its horsepower rating up to 190. It flies, but more importantly with the new $2500 paint job (platinum silver) and a host of other mechanical and body components, to me it looks just fantastic (of course, I always did like this body style). It has won various auto show contests in its class. Needless to say, it is not the kind of car my son should get as a daily driver - it looks to me more like an investment car, one that should be driven judiciously in good whether and in limited amounts. The question I have is: What is the investment potential for a car like this?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,780
    In spite of the fact that it sounds like an interesting modification of a car that really needs modification, I think the investment potential is about Zero....well, not zero, but let's say...."flat"....you might get out what you paid for it if you took care of it. And if it won trophies at shows, it needs to go to better shows I think. I suspect it was judged on the excellent craftsmanship of the paint and modifications, not on the car itself, (like a custom show, not a "classic car" show). In stock form, this car would be very lucky to bring $3,000 in excellent condition, that's how little they are valued these days.

    But if it were cheap enough, it would be a unique ride, that's certain and once you got over the size and ponderousness of it, actually kinda fun I'd bet.

    If anything, I think someday it might be worth more stock than modified. This, of course, is a V-6 manual trans car we're talking about, the most desirable of combinations.

    MODERATOR

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,677
    I agree, as usual with Mr. S. For an investment, find a good mutual fund for your son.

    Also, the 2.8 V-6 is one of the worst engines GM ever built. My advise would be to keep looking!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,780
    Also, with all the engine mods, this car is probably pretty quick, (I'd guess 0-60 around 6.5 seconds) and might be a handful for a new driver.

    MODERATOR

  • I owned several of the early models and have to tell you I had a bag of fun in them. I read that the 84's had rod problems. Apparently GM was paying the manufacturer by the pound for the connecting rods. One in five rods were defective from the factory. The result was that over the first year of production over 500 cars caught fire because the rods would break, pierce the block/ oil pan and allow engine oil to run down onto the converter, catching fire. The fires were reportedly spectacular as the composite body panels would burn in shades of blue and green. I understand it was particularly impressive at night!
    I had no such misfortunes with mine. Just a good little runner.. good on gas and reasonably dependable.
  • I bought a 1988 Fiero GT when it was new. Except for the first year or so it's been kept in the garage and pretty much off the road. It isn't much of a car for my new role as "Mommy" but I couldn't bear to part with it thinking it might have collector value. Hemmings thinks it will appreciate but is sketchy as to when. Mine is RED, has under 30,000 miles and is a lot of fun if not very practical. I'm thinking about selling it - been paid off for some time now - I don't know what a reasonable price would be to ask or accept. I'm located on Long Island Ny so I'm sure there might be a few enthusiasts in the area. What do you think??
  • wilcoxwilcox Posts: 581
    that your 12 year old vehicle is worth aprox $3000.00 if no dents, paint not falling off, and interior is still ok. If it were yellow it'd be worth more. Would have to see some pixs...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,780
    I'd sell it...I don't think the collectible value is going to be very great anytime in the foreseeable future...a V-6 with 5-speed would have the only real chance at appreciation, but when, if ever, is up to the fickle public, and they've been unkind to the Fiero up to now. You must remember this is a car with a very poor reputation (deserved or not I'm not arguing, but it's there, believe me!), and usually cars with bad reps do not ever shed them. It's not a great thing for a car's potential value to have this type of "rap sheet" against it. Look at Corvair, Edsel, Delorean--just to name a few cars with a "clouded" reputation and a corresponding reluctance to appreicate in value.

    MODERATOR

  • Regarding the engine fires, unlike with the Ford Pintos and the GM pickup trucks (forgot which model) with the side mounted fuel tanks, I never read or heard about anyone getting burned or losing their lives in a burning Fiero. Has anyone else? One would think that the Fiero is just as dangerous as one of the other vehicles, but maybe not quite. Or maybe it's because there weren't nearly as many many Fieros produced as the others. Any answers?

    Incidentally, I thought that the principal reason for the engine fires wasn't the connecting rods (didn't know that there was a high defect rate in the '84s, did anyone else?), but the fact that the crankcase capacity was reduced for ground clearance reasons. Therefore, if the engine was run low on oil, it didn't have the margin of safety in terms of oil capacity that the 2.5 liter Iron Duke/Tech 4 engines that were installed in other GM models had, and they caught fire. Can anyone speak to this?
This discussion has been closed.